Antecedents of Knowledge Withholding: A Systematic Review & Integrative Framework

Nando P. Strik*, Melvyn R. W. Hamstra, Mien S. R. Segers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


The purpose of this research is to provide a systematic review and integrative framework of the antecedents of knowledge withholding. A systematic literature review led to a selection of 42 empirical research papers that collected data from 16,649 respondents. The included papers identified 93 antecedents that showed a high degree of theoretical variety. We used the theories of interdependence, social exchange, and social identity to construct a framework that integrates and explains why people withhold their knowledge. We developed propositions of the antecedents of knowledge withholding, which we compare against the SLR. We propose and find that (a) negative interdependence increases knowledge withholding behaviors, but (b) positive versus negative social exchanges may respectively decrease or increase withholding in situations where the default may be positive interdependence. We also propose and find that actors who strongly identify with their immediate team will less likely withhold knowledge from them. In contrast, actors who strongly identify with a different identity will more likely withhold knowledge from their team. The integrative framework provides a strong theoretical foundation for future study and identifies many valuable new research questions
Original languageEnglish
Article number1059601121994379
Pages (from-to)223-251
Number of pages29
JournalGroup & Organization Management
Issue number2
Early online date17 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • knowledge management
  • social identity
  • interpersonal dynamics

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